Be it Soho or the Square, the nabe has room for inns


By Sisi Wei

Showing off its large and well-decorated outdoor seating area, the Four Points by Sheraton hotel opened at 66 Charlton St. two weeks ago.

“This location was very very deprived previous to this hotel opening,” said Tony Morreale, general manager and Staten Island native. “The area was mainly geared towards warehouses.”

With a Verizon truck depot right across the street, the newest Charlton St. occupant sticks out in an area surrounded by warehouses and construction. But the hotel’s opening is matched with a larger effort for more business development in the entire Hudson Square area. Trinity Real Estate, which owns a large amount of the Hudson Square property, brought in 35 new businesses and organizations to the area in 2007 and 23 so far in 2008. Four of last year’s tenants, including the Soloman R. Guggenheim Foundation, leased additional space for this year.

“We’re in the heart of Soho, and that’s fabulous,” Morreale said. “I consider this the sidebar of all of that wonderful retail. Once we get opened, you’ll start seeing some really cool restaurants and some very lofty apartments being developed.”

Independently owned by the SoHo Villager Hotel L.L.C., the Four Points is one of four hotels to find the area appealing. According to Morreale, in about three years, three more hotels will finish construction on Charlton St.

“There’ll be one on Hudson and Charlton St. and one in the 35-story building next to us,” he said. Morreale also said in a few years, a Wingate by Wyndham would be opening across the street.

Tribeca Associates, which developed Soho’s 60 Thompson hotel, has a long-term lease with Trinity at 330 Hudson St., where it is converting a warehouse into a Viceroy Hotel. Donald Trump and partners have topped out on Trump Soho, a 43-story condo-hotel at Spring and Varick Sts. expected to open next year.

Hudson Square, west of Soho — some like Morreale and Trump say it’s in Soho — is extremely attractive to mid-scale hotels and for travelers looking for a cheaper room.

“Some folks just can’t afford $699 for a hotel room right now,” Morreale said. “So they can come here for $399. So I think that our prices are going to be a home run for any turn of the economy.”

The Four Points has 150 guest rooms with two penthouse suites on the top floor. Guests can enjoy dinner in the hotel restaurant and enjoy skylights though the restaurant’s glass ceiling. The hotel also provides free wireless and wired Internet access, as well as remote printing. Four Points also proudly serves free Starbucks coffee in its lounge as well as in every guest room.

“We’re trying to make this a home away from home,” said Matthew Pegg, task force manager of Marshall Management, Four Points’s management contractor.

Rooms include bathrobes and umbrellas, which are also available for purchase to guests. An iHome dock for iPods are also provided in each room.

“Once you’ve lived here for awhile you know that the New York radio stations, well — this way guests can wake up to their own music,” Pegg said with a grin.

Morreale said the location is not only welcoming for business people, but also for families who want to spend the weekend in the city for a cheaper price. Most importantly, however, Morreale wants the hotel to become apart of the Hudson Square and Soho communities.

“We don’t want to just be a crowd of people coming out of town,” he said. “We want it to be a place for people to come together — a little meeting spot, a place to say hello to friends. People think hotels are mainly for out-of-towners and that’s true to some extent, but we want to have some locals in here to enjoy our services.”

Four Points is also looking to team up with local businesses to give guests discounts and free offers for the surrounding areas.

Chris Yenchko, sales coordinator, said that the hotel is looking to offer packages such as “So Grand in Soho” or a free drink on the Tribeca Rooftop, a party space that borders Hudson Square. Yenchko is also looking to incorporate discounts at Bloomingdales and local spas, as well as larger packages such as “I now pronounce you Adam and Steve” to show the hotel’s support for same-sex marriage.

“We’re very very proud to be in this neighborhood,” Morreale said. “It’s a privilege and honor. Soho over the years has almost become a brand in its own. We have a really comfortable funky product that people are going to enjoy. It’s going to blend well with the diversity of the area. We want to be part of the community 100 percent, whatever we can do to help.”

SoHo Villager Hotel L.L.C. owns another Four Points in Chelsea and will be opening a third Time Square location in five months.

“Little escapes you know?” Morreale said. “Everybody needs a little escape.”